Prime Minister John Key says cabinet has agreed to lower the blood alcohol limit for all drivers.
The limit will fall from 0.08ml per 100ml of blood to 0.05ml.
Iain Lees-Galloway, the Labour MP for Palmerston North, had his Land Transport (Safer Alcohol Limits for Driving) Amendment Bill drawn from the Private Member's Bill ballot last month.
The Bill would lower the allowable blood alcohol content (BAC) for adults from 0.08g per 100ml to 0.05g per 100ml.
In 2010 the government decided not to lower the drunk driving limit, a year after then-Transport Minister Steven Joyce described the current limit in New Zealand as ''ridiculous''.
Recent polls have shown the majority of New Zealanders support lower alcohol limits for drivers.
Last week's ONE News Colmar Brunton poll found that 69 per cent supported lowering the limit to 0.05g per 100ml, with 29 per cent opposed.
The government was initially non-committal on whether it would support the Bill, however in late October Prime Minister John Key hinted it would soon consider lesser penalties such as fines for drivers caught between the two limits.
''There are some logical reasons supporting that and they include the clogging up of our courts,'' Key said last week.
''It might be a feature if we decide to change, but those decisions haven't been considered by cabinet.''
Police have said publicly that they support the drink drive limit being lowered.
In September, Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff told the law and order select committee that reducing the limit would undoubtedly save lives.
"Research we've seen, has shown that at the limit of around 50mg a lot of people make a decision they're too intoxicated to drive and then don't drive, or they don't drink any more," Cliff said.
"By the time you get to that 80mg limit, people are so affected by alcohol, they think they're OK to drive."
The Automobile Association also supports the move.
"The AA will be calling for drivers caught at a BAC level between .05 and .08 to be issued with fines and demerit points on the spot by police rather than facing protracted court and criminal charges," said general manager Mike Noon.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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